For most of us it’s starting to feel like Christmas. It’s almost the time of year when decorations pop up, gifts are wrapped, and families and friends come together to celebrate the festive season. But for young people experiencing disadvantage and homelessness, Christmas can be an especially difficult and lonely time. Gifts are a luxury they can’t afford and sitting down to enjoy a special meal with loved ones on Christmas Day simply isn’t possible. That’s why we’re calling on the Brisbane community to support Brisbane Youth Service’s annual Christmas Hamper Drive.

Every year BYS spreads some Christmas cheer by distributing around 300 food hampers to young people and their children across Brisbane thanks to generous donations from our supporters and partners. In past years, the donations have lifted the spirits of young people at Christmas by providing food and festive treats for those who would otherwise go without.

BYS CEO Annemaree Callander said young people experiencing homelessness can feel more vulnerable and alone during the festive season, especially as Christmas gets closer and celebrations begin.

A small act of kindness can make a huge difference; a hamper or gift card can help make Christmas a little brighter for a young person who’s doing it really tough and let them know there are people who care about them.

“Each year BYS sees more and more young people in need of support and urgent assistance. More than 50 per cent of the young people we meet are homeless and one quarter are young parents. Intervening early is vital to reduce their exposure to violence and trauma and prevent them from losing hope for the future,” Ms Callander said.

“Homelessness is not just about being without a safe, secure or stable place to live. What is often forgotten is the resulting exclusion from the community and the emotional emptiness and sadness that can create.

“Christmas is a distressing time for many young people who are disconnected from family; it can reinforce their loss and isolation and young parents have additional anxiety about affording gifts for their children.

“A small act of kindness can make a huge difference; a hamper or gift card can help make Christmas a little brighter for a young person who’s doing it really tough and let them know there are people who care about them.”

You, your family, community group or business can help:

Donate or purchase a hamper or gift card for a young person or young family

Make a tax-deductible cash donation.

Visit: brisyouth.org/christmas-hamper-drive/ for more information on how you can help create a brighter future for a young person this Christmas.

BYS has worked with homeless and vulnerable young people and their children in Brisbane since 1977. We assist more than 1500 young people and young families annually and with the right support most young people move out of crisis and transition to independence. We are always in need of donations so we can help more young people create new futures.